I know, I know….we all know about self-care.
Yet, are we doing all the things we possibly can to care for ourselves?
Times are interesting right now to say the least. I find myself more tired than usual and I think it’s all the noise. Noise from the news, noise from the grumbling on social media, noise from the unexpected extra stress COVID has placed on my life.
Taking time for myself has become more important than ever.
Today, I’m simply listing every possible thing I can think of that we can all do to give ourselves a little respite.
Read through the list and see if you can find 1-2 you can add this week.
~Take a long bath (bonus for adding salts or smells that help you relax and candles)
~Take a nap (even 20 minutes of lying down can make a big difference!)
~Sip a nice cup of herbal tea
~Get a massage
~Give yourself a massage
~Walk or even just stroll outside
~Do a jigsaw puzzle
~Read feel good fiction
~Watch a chick flick
~Do something artistic: paint, color, draw
~Take Facebook and Email off of your phone
~Play with your kids or pets (really play—be all in!)
~Listen to music
~Dance to that music
~Soak your feet in roses, lavender, or chamomile
~Journal your feelings or frustrations
~Sleep soundly (and get help if you’re not)
~Make yourself a smoothie or green juice and really enjoy it
What did I miss? What other ideas do you have?
Please comment below and share widely with any stressed out friends or family.
Instead of saying the same things I always say about the work I do, I thought I’d give you an example of how integrative medicine really works, so you can see how it could benefit you or those you love.
Heartburn and reflux are extremely common symptoms. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, it’s estimated that more than 15 million American suffer with heartburn and/or reflux symptoms every day. That’s a lot of folks!
If you were to go to a mainstream western medical provider with the complaint of heartburn, there’s a very high chance that your treatment would consistent of one thing: a prescription for a medication from a class of drugs called proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs). Commonly prescribed PPIs include, omeprazole (Prilosec), esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid), rabeprazole (AcipHex), and pantoprazole (Protonix). Many of these are also available over-the-counter.
I know this because that 15 million people with heartburn statistic you read above is generated by the number of people taking one of these medications every day.
If you’re lucky, this conversation might also include advice to eliminate a few common irritating foods, such as coffee, tea, and soda, and you might be instructed to elevate the head of your bed while you sleep.
And, that’s it. You’re out the door and on your way to starting a drug that’s extremely difficult to discontinue down the road. I won’t go into all the physiology here, because that could be an hour lecture on its own. I will tell you this, PPIs change the physiology of the gut and when you want to stop taking these drugs, the rebound heartburn is usually worse than what you had when you started out in the first place.
*Please note that I’m talking about mild to moderate cases here. More severe cases could require further testing and exploration to be certain nothing more serious is going on.
Integrative Medicine Approach
Avoid PPIs if at all possible. (If heartburn has been going on for a while, there is a risk to the tissues of the esophagus. Very rarely we might give a PPI for 2 weeks to calm things down, which was actually the original intention of this drug).
Other medications for the gut such as famotidine/ranitidine or plain old antacids like Tums can be helpful for in the moment times to avoid misery while we sort out what’s really going on. These would also be used sparingly and are easier to stop taking.
Consider complete stool analysis to find the true cause of the symptom. It might be that the person doesn’t have enough stomach acid to break down fats and proteins and not that they have too much
There might also be inflammation, an imbalance in good and bad bacteria, or a lack of digestive enzymes to break down carbohydrates.
A stool analysis takes out the guessing game and gets down to the physiological facts.
We can then recommend the exact supplements and herbs needed to heal the issue for good.
Consider food allergy and food sensitivity testing. If we can find out the exact foods causing symptoms, then why not do it?
Food elimination diets can feel very oppressive and can be hard to follow. Once you see it on paper, it’s much easier to avoid the foods that could be causing your symptoms.
Add demulcent herbs like marshmallow root, licorice root, or slippery elm. I often give these herbs as powders to be taken several times a day. They soothe and heal the gut lining since it’s probably quite irritated at this point.
Take a hard look at the person’s stress level. When you’re stressed, you can live in fight-or-flight mode a good part of the time (read this full article here to learn more about this). This causes a slowing of digestion which means that food might sit in your stomach longer than usual creating the heartburn symptom.
Addressing stress is often the most powerful treatment for all digestive issues. In integrative medicine, we take time to talk in detail about this and determine the best strategy for overcoming stress. Suggestions might include quiet time/meditation, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), removal of the stressful situations from the person’s life, if possible, counseling, etc.
We can do all the testing in the world and spend hundreds of dollars on supplements, but if the problem is stress, we will only make a small impact on resolving heartburn for good.
So, there you go. That’s an example of what a consultation might look like with me. For every symptom, there’s a scientific look at physiology as well as a compassionate look at lifestyle and life circumstances.
I hope that helps you understand how integrative medicine might be a better option for people than simply being prescribed a medication to make the symptom seem like it’s gone.
If you want that professional to be me, click here to schedule and be sure to share this article with others in your life who might need a more integrative approach to what they’re experiencing.
If you missed “What the Heck is Pelvic Care Anyway (Part 1)” and you’re on Facebook, you can watch it here or you can just read the recap below.
If you already watched the video or know the basics, you can scroll down to Part 2 now!
Part 1 Recap:
Holistic Pelvic Care™ (HPC) was created by physical therapist, Tami Lynn Kent. After she learned the skills to perform pelvic floor therapy, she began noticing that the women she was working with were having emotional responses to the treatment.
After working with hundreds of women, she began to see patterns in the pelvic area. She found that women* were often holding on to emotions, feelings, and memories inside what we call the “pelvic bowl”. By combining the hands-on work to the area with breathwork and visualization, Tami was able to help women clear these “stuck” experiences and make way for more empowerment, self-love, and vitality. And, she teaches other practitioners how to do the same, including me!
There are large muscles inside the pelvis that get little to no attention. We can get “knots” in these muscles just like we get in our shoulders, necks, etc. that are often easily relieved with massage to the pelvic floor just like massage to other parts of the body.
Through the combination of releasing the muscles and using breath and visualization, pelvic symptoms are often greatly relieved. Some of the symptoms helped with HPC include: long, heavy, or painful periods, low libido, fertility issues, menopausal symptoms, and low back and hip pain, just to name a few. HPC is also very helpful after childbirth and for healing from a miscarriage.
If you want to learn more from Tami’s experiences, I highly recommend reading her book, Wild Feminine.
Okay, on to….
I think the most common reaction I get when I tell people about this work is that they think it sounds really weird.
And, then, once people experience it, they actually comment things like, “It was weirdly not weird at all!”
Holistic Pelvic Care™ is truly women’s healthcare.
How did women’s healthcare become all about a pap smear? When we think of women’s health, we immediately picture ourselves with our feet up in stirrups ready to brace ourselves for discomfort. Am I right?
Let’s address this aspect now. HPC is totally different from a pelvic exam. There are no stirrups. You’re lying on a warm table on pretty sheets. I take a look at your “parts” only to see where I’m going so I don’t poke you anywhere you’d rather not get poked. The rest of the treatment is done with me by your side and you are covered with the sheet.
The massage aspect is done with only one finger, so it’s nothing like a speculum used for regular pelvic exams. We are then communicating throughout the entire experience as to your comfort level. The goal is to never cause pain or trauma to your sacred spaces.
Does that help you understand this better?
If you’re having any sort of pelvic area symptom, I strongly urge you to consider coming in for HPC. And, many symptoms will allow for your visit to be covered by insurance.
The Other Benefits of Pelvic Care:
There’s one more very important thing for you to know. This care is NOT just for symptoms.
Even if the body is not giving us a physical signal that there’s something going on (like pain, discomfort, or dysfunction), there is amazing healing that can be experienced with the work.
As part of women’s healthcare, more and more of us are investing in pelvic care for health maintenance, prevention of symptoms, and for personal connection.
I take HPC a step further in what I call Pelvic Bowl Healing.
Pelvic Bowl Healing expands on the energy work portion of HPC and blends my lifetime of healing experiences for women looking for more energy, more vitality, and even more money.
To learn more about this work, click here to the Pelvic Bowl Healing main page.
A few weeks ago, I was featured on the amazing LaToya Zavala’s Podcast, “Freed and Powered Up”. The topic of our discussion was called, “So, What About Sexual Healing”.
If you want to hear some more about this topic, you can listen to it here.
Pelvic Bowl Meditation:
On the Sacred Sundays blog this week, I’ll be sending you a free meditation called, “Pelvic Bowl Meditation for Difficult Times”. This will give you a glimpse into your own pelvic bowl and help you get grounded and clear to handle all that’s going on in the world right now.
If you’re not signed up for this Mind-Body newsletter, you can sign-up here.
I welcome all of your thoughts and questions about this topic. What else do you want to know?
Please comment below and share this article widely, so more of us can know about this important work.
If you’re ready to schedule for Holistic Pelvic Care™, click here for more information.
*Women is used as a general term in this article. Please know that any person with a vagina may benefit from this healing work.
FLOURISH Integrative Medicine clinic is seeking a part-time phlebotomist to do blood draws and specimen handling in our office every Tuesday morning.
Position is for an independent contractor.
Pay is based on fee-per-draw at an extremely fair rate.
If interested, send cover letter and resume to email@example.com.
*Knowledge of handling specialty testing kits like Boston Heart and Genova is a plus!
During these challenging times, it can feel overwhelming. Many of us are wearing hats we’ve never worn before, like being home schooling parents. We have a lot on our plates and sometimes, we feel like we’re not enough.
A while back, I listened to a talk by Dr. Marisa Peer. She’s an author and therapist who works with international superstars, CEOs, royalty, and olympic athletes. Her technique is very simple. She helps people to realize that they are enough.
Isn’t that really what is holding most of us back? We worry that we are not enough. We think we are not enough as a spouse, daughter/son, mother/father, friend, etc. and we are not enough in our work. We are always striving to be more, be better, be perfect, or we just give up all together, because we are sure we’re never going to be enough.
We may have been told by others that we aren’t enough for a very long time.
But, what if we just accepted that we ARE enough? It’s very freeing, really. Stop right now and put your hand over your heart and say to yourself, “I am enough”.
What feelings come up for you?
Do you immediately think of a role where you don’t feel like you are enough?
Maybe you couldn’t even say the words?
Dr. Peer recommends saying, “I am enough” multiple times each day. She suggests hanging a sign with these words on the mirror in your bathroom. She suggests saying them over and over again while you’re in the shower. You can also set phone alerts to go off throughout the day to remind you that you are enough.
When we repeat something over and over again (in our minds and out loud), the mind doesn’t have any other choice but to eventually accept it.
Dr. Peer says this about this technique, “In my 25 years as a therapist, I’ve discovered that the root of so many modern problems—hoarding, excessive drinking, compulsive shopping, and over-eating—come right back to a need to fill the inner emptiness of not feeling “enough” with external things. The more you tell yourself you are enough, the more you’ll believe it. It sounds so utterly simple—and it is—and all you need is the commitment to do it and the belief that it will work.”
When I think about the people I work with every day, I can honestly say that almost none of them think they are enough. Many are feeling inadequate in almost every role they play. In my experience, when we don’t fix the emotional roots to our physical symptoms, it is very difficult to have true healing. What if the process could fast track by just convincing ourselves that we are really enough?
To me it seems worth a try. So, I have a sign on my bathroom mirror and I have phone alerts set up to remind me all day that I really am enough. When my mind starts to place judgement on me for whatever reason, I snap my fingers and say, “I am enough”.
I joke with my friends and say that I retired from perfectionism. I really have, because deep down, I know….I am enough.
Please be sure to share this article with your friends and comment with your experiences below.
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